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The vagina and the external structures of the vulva naturally range in shape, color, and size. There are no specific types of vagina, but each person’s vagina will have its own characteristics.

When it comes to anything related to bodies and sexual and reproductive health, most people wonder, “Am I normal?” The answer regarding the vagina is that there is a wide variety of healthy shapes, sizes, and colors. This article describes different types of vaginas, how they can vary, and when to see a doctor.

Types of vagina

Overall, most people’s vaginas have a similar shape, but vaginas can also vary widely Trusted Source in terms of:

  • length and width
  • shape of the labia, or lips
  • amount of pubic hair
  • color
  • discharge and odor


When people refer to the vagina, they usually mean the visible, external part of the genitals. The anatomical term for this area is the vulva.

The vulva includes many structures, such as the labia majora and labia minora, or inner and outer lips. These are folds of skin that surround the vaginal and urethral openings.

Depending on the size and shape of the external structures, the appearance of the vulva can vary widely.

It is rare for any variation in this shape or size to be a cause for concern.

Taking this variety into account, some common characteristics of the vulva include:

Outer lips

The outer lips of the vulva, or the labia majora, are longer in some people. The lips may hang low, and the skin may seem thin, or they may be thick and puffy.

The outer lips are usually relatively smooth and do not fold as much as the inner lips.

Some people have outer lips that hide the inner lips and clitoris almost entirely. In others, the outer lips may curve and meet at the ends, exposing some of the inner lips above.

If the outer lips are short, they may not meet and may expose the inner lips more prominently.

Inner lips

It is typical for the inner lips, or labia minora, to be visible. They may dangle below the outer lips or otherwise be prominent.

One inner lip may be longer than the other. Asymmetry in the labia is not necessarily a cause for concern.

Some people may have short inner lips that the outer lips hide. In others, the outer and inner lips are of similar length.

If the outer and inner lips are small and close to the inner thighs, the clitoral hood, which hides the clitoris, may be visible.

These are some possible variations in shape, but healthy vulvas have many other shapes and sizes.

Inside the vagina

The inside of the vagina is like a long tube with folded areas that can expand and contract. Some descriptions compareTrusted Source this characteristic to an accordion.

Imaging studies reveal that most vaginas are narrower toward the vaginal opening and wider toward the cervix. This usually forms a “V” shape, although the width at the widest point can vary.

Their vagina can seem wider or looser following childbirth. This is because the vaginal tissues expand to make room for a baby to pass down the birth canal. The vagina may resume its pre-pregnancy size, or it may remain slightly widened.

The hymen

The hymen is a thin membrane that, in most females, partly coversTrusted Source the opening to the vagina. The labia protect the hymen, which some people compare with a hair scrunchy, as it can expand and contract.

Hymens vary greatly in shape and elasticity, and they can also change with age or during pregnancy.

In some cases, the hymen may fully cover the vagina. This can lead to complications, as it may prevent menstrual blood from leaving the body.

Some people say a hymen can indicate whether a person is a virgin or not, but this is untrue. The first time a person has sex, they may bleed, but this is not true for everyone. One reason for this may be tears in the hymen.


The vagina can change in size, or length, to accommodate a tampon, finger, or penis, for example. It does this by stretching and elongating. This also moves the cervix and uterus upward.

The length of the vagina varies, but the average length is just under 4 inches, according to a 2016 studyTrusted Source. In this study, researchers sometimes used MRI scans to measure the length, width, and angles of participants’ vaginas.

However, some people’s vaginas measure up to 7 inches.

To measure the length of a vagina, researchers consider the average length of the anterior (near the bladder) and posterior (near the rectum) vaginal walls. However, the length can vary significantly.


Aman k. Kashyap

I am a hard-working and driven medical student who isn't afraid to face any challenge. I'm passionate about my work . I would describe myself as an open and honest person who doesn't believe in misleading other people and tries to be fair in everything I do.

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